Chapter 39

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A green lizardman sat on a bed with its backed pressed against a wall. A blue orb rested on the bedside table next to it, illuminating the room with a faint blue glow. A scratching sound came from the door as a red blade sank through the wooden latch holding it in place. The hinges creaked as the door slowly opened. A humanoid outline stepped into the house, the blue light framing its face, revealing a smile that contained too many teeth.

“I followed your orders,” the lizardman said and hissed. “Why are you here?”

Palan didn’t say a word as he pulled a chair out from underneath the table in the room and sat on it, resting his arms along the backrest. “I just wanted to make sure you remembered what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

The lizardman’s head bobbed up and down rapidly. “Of course,” it said. “You will send messenger angels and the killings will stop as long as we listen to them.

“Good,” Palan said. “And you know what happens if they get hurt, right?” The chair creaked underneath his body as he leaned forward.

“Yes, yes,” the lizardman said as it nodded. “We wouldn’t dare disobey.”

Palan nodded as he stood up and walked out of the room, closing the door behind himself. He frowned. “You’re still here?” he asked as his gaze shifted downwards. Cleo stood outside the house, her tiny figure illuminated by the moonlight. “Didn’t I tell you to go home? No one’s stopping you now.”

Cleo shook her head. “I can’t. The neighbors will take the house away.”

“Some things never change,” Palan said and nodded. He walked around the child and headed in the direction of the city walls. “I’m not taking responsibility for you. If you follow me and die, that’s just your bad luck.” Cleo’s eyes lit up as she followed Palan, her nails clicking against the ground as she walked.

Palan froze and stopped walking. He slipped into the shadows of a building and lay prone. “Stay there and don’t say a word,” he said to Cleo who was about to follow after him. She blinked and tilted her head. Moments later, footsteps rang through the air as a group of seven lizardmen holding spears rounded a corner and appeared ahead of Cleo.

“Hey,” one of the lizardmen said as he lowered his spear and approached the girl with the other lizardmen in tow. “Don’t you know it’s dangerous? Who are your parents?”

Cleo didn’t say anything as she watched Palan slink onto his feet, approaching the group of lizardmen from behind. The lizardman who just spoke stepped forward with a frown. “Are you deaf?” it asked as it prodded Cleo’s stomach with the butt of its spear. She grunted and fell over backwards.

A thudding sound echoed through the night as one of the lizardmen fell to ground, a fountain of blood spurting out of a gash in the back of its neck. “Karl!” the lizardman standing next to the dying one said as he whirled around; it saw a figure retreating into the shadows of an alley. It pointed in the direction Palan escaped towards and said, “Over there!”

“Damnit!” The lizardman who knocked Cleo over cursed and shouted. “What are you standing around for?! After it!” It ignored Cleo as it sprinted towards the alley. Cleo climbed to her feet and bit her lip as she approached the dying lizardman on the ground. She relinquished its spear that was over twice her height and waddled after the group. The metal spearhead left a line in the ground as she dragged it into the alley.

Palan glanced at the group of six lizardmen chasing after him. Their spearheads glinted in the moonlight as they bobbed up and down. “You can’t escape!” one of the lizardmen shouted. “You only know how to sneak attack and kill women while they sleep?!” Palan’s eyes narrowed as he snorted and reached into his leather bag as he ran. He pulled out a cloth sack and pierced it with his dagger, letting a cloud of powder into the air behind him.

The lizardmen ran through it, unable to discern the powder’s color in the darkness of the night. Palan smirked as he dropped the bag and rounded a corner. He arrived at a field of crops with walls of stone surrounding the plot of land. The only exit and entrance was the one he came through. Palan frowned as he inspected the stone walls, deeming them unclimbable; they were made to keep thieves out. He turned around and faced the approaching lizardmen, their green and blue bodies illuminated by the moonlight. One of the lizardmen started to cough, causing a few specks of blood to fly out of its mouth. “I don’t feel so good,” it said as it groaned. After a bout of coughing it stopped and inhaled.

“So all of you can still move and talk,” Palan said as he tilted his head. He sighed. “Reusing poison really lowers the efficiency, huh?”

One of the lizardman spat as its body shuddered. “You use poison too?!” it asked. “Despicable! Surround him.” The lizardmen spread out into a semi-circle and pointed their spears inwards towards Palan. “Don’t be afraid! If we kill him here, the warrior will have to acknowledge us.”

“I don’t care about acknowledgement,” one of the lizardman said as he charged at Palan. The others followed after it. “You killed my mate!”

“Did I?” Palan asked as he licked his lips, taking a step backwards. The lizardman charging him stumbled and slipped as its body twitched, its spear dipping downwards. Palan smiled as he slid forward and to the side of the spear, narrowly avoiding the blade. His dagger flashed upwards, cutting through the spear shaft as if it was cutting through air. The lizardman’s eyes widened as Palan brought his arm downwards, sinking the dagger in between its eyes. “Then join her.”

The five other lizardmen arrived with their spears flying through the air towards Palan. He dodged to the side, avoiding the two attacks that came from ahead, but got grazed by the two blows coming from his side. His face hardened, and his body twitched as a spearhead stabbed into him from behind, protruding out of his left shoulder. He hissed and all the lizardmen’s eyes widened as he pushed off with his feet, sliding his body along the spear’s shaft until his back collided against the lizardman’s hands. The lizardman let go of the spear out of surprise as Palan whirled around and blindly stabbed at it with his dagger, sinking the blade into its scaly arm. It hissed and pulled away, but Palan grabbed its face with his free hand, tilting its head upwards to expose its neck. He sank his teeth into its throat and jerked his head backwards, ripping out a chunk of flesh.

Palan’s throat expanded as he swallowed, and the lizardman fell to the ground, clutching at the bleeding hole in its neck. Palan turned around just in time to see four spears flying at him. He narrowly avoided two of them, but the others grazed him, leaving a bloody line on his chest and legs. He managed to cut through two of the shafts with his dagger before they could retract their spears. The group of lizardmen continued with their onslaught, preventing him from maneuvering into a favorable position.

Palan ignored the blunt attacks from the spears without blades, and managed to remove the remaining spearheads after letting them puncture his flesh. He grinned as rivulets of blood flowed from his mouth and multiple wounds along his body. The lizardmen shivered as they hesitated, holding their blunted spears in front of their bodies. Palan took a step forward. “You can’t kill me with just sticks,” he said as he raised his dagger and winced. His muscles burned as he took in a deep breath and charged at the lizardmen.

Thudding sounds and screams echoed through the night. After twenty minutes, silence blanketed the night once again. Palan sat on the ground with a roll of bandages in his hands. The six lizardmen lay around him, unmoving, as he cut strips out of the bandages and wrapped his wounds. He stood up and curled his lips as he kicked a corpse out of his way. “I hate fighting head on,” he said as he staggered and caught himself before he fell. He glanced at the entrance to the farm. “What are you looking at?”

Cleo stood with her body hidden behind a wall, her head poking out. “You won?” she asked, her black eyes blinking.

“Of course,” Palan said and snorted as he straightened his back and walked past the child. “It was easy.”

Cleo scratched her head as she stared at the bloody bandages wrapping Palan’s body, but didn’t say anything as she waddled after him, spear dragging behind her.

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